Elkie: Can you just refresh me as to what the ONgroup mission is?
Dawn: Our goal is to raise the value of software applications, companies, and professionals by relieving the strains of using proprietary platforms that inhibit interoperability and use of industry best practices. We do this by running existing MultiValue applications in .NET with SQL Server, for example. That sounds a bit stiff – we want to share some joy and bring relief to the MV world in 2017 and beyond!
Elkie: What is the main advantage of using MVON# in the CLR?
Dawn: It is hard to pick one, so I’ll go with the –ilities. Advances in reliability, accessibility, securability, maintainability, usability, scalability, and interoperability are just expected by companies today. Microsoft has poured and continues to pour vast sums into their .NET run machine, so let’s use it. Similarly for their SQL Server DBMS. It’s solid, and with our tools it works for MV applications too. I have said in the past that I was a .NOT developer, but the Microsoft trajectory is now taking me where I want to go. With MVON# Tools, you can run existing MultiValue applications in .NET with SQL Server as the DBMS. As MV developers, we are co-opting solid industry platforms to our benefit. It is so spot on for what helps businesses that our team is really excited to finally be announcing it. With MVON# Netbuilder, you can even run SB+ applications in .NET with our emulator.
Elkie: Who does this product really benefit?
Dawn: “Bob, the owner,” IT management, IT professionals, super users, suppliers, customers, and everyone related to a company. It raises the value of everything and everyone. For example, regarding interoperability, that might be the one that relieves the most strains from IT professionals. Users have their security levels and within that can do whatever they want without developers writing imports and exports, APIs (sometimes poorly secured) for this and that, etc.
For a business owner, the value of the business shoots up immediately when the platform is Microsoft because of how solid, feature-rich, and pervasive the platform is. When it comes to reporting and business intelligence, 24-7 uptime, clustering, high availability, disaster recovery, and scaling, MVON# provides a huge relief to sites. Using Microsoft as the MV platform also gives companies the first horizontally scalable architecture for MultiValue. I’ll net it out that people’s lives improve as the value of their software assets goes up across the board.
Elkie: I believe that ONgroup has opened an office in Africa. Why was this better than just working remotely?
Dawn: Ah, our African group is amazing! On the engineering side, we are blending two top engineering teams by combining Perry Stauffer’s MVON team with Grant Hart’s MVON# team. The results are superb. In fact, MVON# was written in Africa, and we have several live MVON# sites running there. While we operate as a single company, ONgroup Africa is a legal entity that allows us to manage various details, such as financials. We also like how the multi-site approach works for customer service coverage, so in addition to North America and Africa we also have coverage in the U.K.
Elkie: What’s the difference between you and perhaps Evoke from BlueFinity?
Dawn: BlueFinity Evoke looks very cool for writing new applications in the .NET world. I would like to give it a spin myself. MVON# tools bring your existing application software to Microsoft .NET (or Linux Mono), which is right where all new Evoke applications will run too. What we have in common with Evoke is the recognition that the industry is moving not just to the common operating systems of Windows and Linux, but also to a common run machine such as the .NET or Mono CLR. MultiValue customers do not need to run their applications in a proprietary-to-MultiValue p-machine. Your existing applications can run in .NET using MVON# side by side with your new applications written with MVON# (using MV BASIC, for example) or Evoke or any other .NET tools.
Elkie: How are you getting the word out about this product?
Dawn: We have had some discussions and presentations with a few folks prior to this first Press Release, and we waited until we had live sites in Africa and our North American initial sites were getting under way. Now we are ready to launch the global distribution, so we are going to be making some noise in 2017, starting with the revisions to our web site. We have an advantage in the MV space in that the primary vendor for our customers is Microsoft. So, Microsoft does some of that advertising for us. When sites are sold on Microsoft, they do not have a better option for running their MV applications in .NET or Mono than using MVON#. We are now starting to get the word out in the MultiValue space through typical means, like talking with you. Hey, by the way, thanks Elkie for helping to spread the news, and this is some good chocolate. We can also make use of the Microsoft Technology Centers available in cities in many countries already to show the advantages of using Microsoft platforms for MultiValue applications.
Elkie: What sort of feedback have you had so far?
Dawn: Oh my goodness! Some years ago I worked in BI showing dashboards with sexy charts and graphs, so I have seen people drooling over products, but the responses to date have been unlike anything I have heard before. The number one response has been “Really? Where have you been?” Well, we are here now, baby. In addition to more than 70 ports to Oracle and SQL Server between our MVON and MVON# products, we now have some live sites running in .NET under our belts. SB+ sites are especially amazed when they see our MVON# Netbuilder SB+ emulation. Anyone who has ever wondered “why are we still doing this?” and answered “because it works and gives us a good application” are good candidates for taking a look. The music isn’t in the piano, but MVON# is the instrument with which MV shops will play beautiful music, including C#. OK, maybe that is not as clever as it sounded in my head.
Elkie: What benefit do developers see?
Dawn: Developers can do what they have been doing, other than now running their application in a pervasive run-machine and DBMS for their MV data, without being forced to pick up new programming skills. They can then add to that knowledge only when they want to do so. We call the umbrella language of MultiValue “MV#.” So developers use MV# for BASIC, MV# for Query, MV# for PROC, and MV# for TCL, for example, and these look and act as expected. We also have the MV# Developer Studio as an IDE with syntax highlighting for MV# editing and compiling (transpiling to C#, but you need not look at the intermediate C#, or you can if you wish).
Elkie: What’s the benefit to businesses and software houses? Isn’t it just yet another lair and more licenses to pay?
Dawn: You are asking all the right questions, Elkie. This is that nirvana that gets sites out of per-seat pricing.
Elkie: Do you have a trial version?
Dawn: Yes. We have two options as a starting point: MVON# demo install or MVON Express FREE MultiValue. For MVON#, we work with you to set up a hands-on demo. We analyze your situation and determine how best to do this, whether in the cloud or not, for example. We also have a FREE downloadable version of MVON called MVON Express that is fully deployable on SQL Server Express, which Microsoft supplies for FREE as well. MVON is our MVON#-like product that works with SQL Server or Oracle and runs in its own p-machine instead of in .NET.
Elkie: How is the product priced?
Dawn: There are at least two options. While we have attractive per core pricing developed, everyone to date has opted to acquire the source code so they have a onetime fee and then just work with Microsoft as their vendor. We call that “one and done.” We look forward to our first site that prefers per core pricing, while we are also delighted that sites are so relieved to have the full source of their MV tools running in .NET and with SQL Server.
Elkie: How can people get more information about this product?
Dawn: Go to the Contact link and Request Information from ongroup.com. We would love to chat or you can ask to see a video demo. We can’t wait to hear what people think about this option that we are really excited to bring it forward.